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Toxicologists of African Origin (TAO)

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President’s Message

Dear TAO members,

I would like to start by extending my warm greetings and thanking each one of you for your trust in me to lead our esteemed organization for the 2024–2025 term. TAO is a key Special Interest Group within SOT, as we bring up ideas and issues that matter to our members and to SOT in general. I am standing on the shoulders of strong and visionary leaders who worked hard to start this Special Interest Group and who have led it up to this point. I am looking forward to working with each one of you, dear members, to drive our agenda forward.

As we all know, toxicants impact our communities within the US and in Africa disproportionately. We are constantly aware of environmental injustice issues affecting our communities. We are also aware that climate change and associated toxicological issues are adversely affecting our communities more than others. In Africa, toxicological issues impacting human, animal, plant, and ecosystem health are either neglected or given low priority, and yet, they matter. As such, some of the most vulnerable communities in the world who are impacted by toxicants are found in Africa. Because of our unique toxicogenomics, we Africans and African Americans metabolize certain toxicants differently than other racial groups and, in some cases, this increases our vulnerability to pharmaceutical drugs and environmental toxicants.

These are only a few examples, and I am sure you can find other issues to add to this list. The challenge is further compounded by the fact that toxicologists of African origin are underrepresented in our profession. The duty to raise awareness about these and other issues impacting our interest group falls on each one of us. We are also the most qualified to generate solutions to solve them working in tandem with SOT. These tasks are enormous and cannot be left to only a few of us. We all have to pull together to better our own health, the health of our communities, and the environment we live in. I am therefore looking forward to working with the new executive board and with each one of you as a team. Thank you again for the honor you have bestowed on me to lead TAO this year.

Wilson K Rumbeiha, DVM, PhD, DABVT, DABT

2024–2025 TAO President